Having won a record fifth-straight Player of the Year award in the Australian Suncorp Super Netball League this season, president of Netball Jamaica (NJ) Tricia Robinson has declared that Sunshine Girls captain and goalshooter Jhaniele Fowler should now be considered "the greatest of all time (GOAT)".
The 33-year-old Fowler led all players in the league this season with 1,668.5 total points, 929 goals and 55 offensive rebounds on her way to helping the West Coast Fever to second place in the league table with 32 points from their 12 games. Her 929 goals this year is a record for the most goals in a season in the Suncorp Super Netball League.
Fowler also had an outstanding showing for the Sunshine Girls at this year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, where she led the Jamaicans to a historic silver at the championships.
"She is the GOAT for the sport of netball," said Robinson. "I wish for her continued success and I am happy that she is able to inspire and motivate future Sunshine Girls and little girls can look up to her and aspire to be like her," she said.
"This is a marvellous achievement for her and we are looking forward to even better things from her," Robinson. "We at Netball Jamaica are extremely proud of her and we are delighted for her," Robinson added.
Fowler was also named to the Suncorp Super Netball Team of the Year. The team also included Fowler's Sunshine Girls teammates, goalkeeper Shamera Sterling and goal defence Latanya Wilson.
Robinson shared that she is also very happy for Sterling and Wilson because they have both played well in this season's competition and their exposure and consequent development will certainly help the Sunshine Girls team in the future.
"They have done excellently because we have a very talented bunch of ladies and it is good that they are recognised for their skill set internationally," she said.
"As you know, we are heading into England in January, which is our last major tournament before the World Cup in South Africa next year and we are looking to do well following our Commonwealth Games performance in August," Robinson went on.
Former president of NJ Marva Bernard agrees with Robinson that Fowler is indeed the greatest netball player of all time, based on her achievements at the international and club levels.
"I think she is one of the greatest of all times because I can't think of any other Jamaican or any other player who has achieved what Jhaniele has achieved, and therefore, I would not hesitate to say that she is the GOAT now that we are gathering statistics of longevity and accolades," said Bernard.
"I have been watching Jhaneile since 2009 when she should have joined us in the Cook Islands as our shooter for the Under-21 championships, but she took a break to have her daughter, but she returned and has not looked back since," she said.
Anmar Goodridge-Boyce, a sports journalist with the Nation Publishing Company Limited in Barbados, told the Jamaica Observer that Fowler is one the best netballers ever to play the sport.
"Yes, I think she is one of the greatest netball players of all time because I think it is absolutely remarkable to win five-straight MVP awards," said Goodridge-Boyce.
"I think if you look at netball around the region, around the world and to play in Australia, which has the best league in the world, it is definitely a great achievement in terms of what she is able to do.
"I think even if you look at the players that have come through the various leagues around the world and over the past years, then I think that she definitely has to be considered one of the best of the greatest based on her shared accolades and performances," he noted.
— Robert Bailey